New leader of Durham County Council says 'everything is on the table'

‘Everything is on the table’ - the new leader of Durham County Council has promised.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, the new leader of Durham County Council.
Cllr Amanda Hopgood, the new leader of Durham County Council.

Amanda Hopgood made history on Wednesday, May 26, becoming the local authority’s first ever female leader and officially breaking the Labour Party’s hold on power for the first time in a century.

But taking over as the head of a self-styled ‘joint administration’ of Conservatives, independents and her own Liberal Democrat party, the new boss is yet to commit to any key priorities.

She said: “We want to get people’s views on the projects and the future for the council – everything is on the table to be reviewed.

“It would be irresponsible to come in and say this is what we’re doing, without getting the background.

“We will be a stable administration and we will be working in a structured way.”

Cllr Hopgood was speaking following the annual meeting of the county council, marking the first time county councillors have met in person, rather than via videolink, for official business in more than a year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new-look ruling cabinet, which includes three Conservatives, three Liberal Democrats, three independents and a member of the North East Party, is due to meet next week, with Hopgood promising the new leadership’s list of priorities will be released within the next two months.

Labour opposition leader Carl Marshall however has said he is ‘disappointed’ not to have heard more about the new regime’s plans.

He added: “We saw what the result of a coalition was the last time [in 2010] – cuts and austerity.”

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